ALEXANDRIA, Louisiana — For the second game in a row, the Howard Payne Yellow Jackets overcame a considerable halftime deficit to secure an American Southwest Conference road victory.
On the heels of rallying from 14 down at the break against Belhaven Thursday night, the Yellow Jackets climbed out of an eight-point halftime hole Saturday afternoon to upend the Louisiana College Wildcats, 72-65.
The Yellow Jackets (4-5, 2-2) drained 54 percent (14 of 26) of their second-half field goals and 69 percent (9 of 13) of their free throws. Louisiana College (1-6, 0-4), conversely, sank just 27 percent (10 of 36) percent of its shots after halftime, including just 1 of 14 three-pointers.
Howard Payne also owned a 48-41 edge in rebounds, which led to 44 points in the paint and 11 second-chance points. The Yellow Jackets’ performance on the glass allowed HPU to overcome 20 turnovers that translated to 18 Wildcat points.
Timothy Aguero led HPU with 16 points trailed by 15 from Shadd Cole and a second straight double-double from Khyce Randall, who scored 12 points and pulled 16 rebounds. De’Marcus Hurd and Thomas Bingham added seven points apiece trailed by Rickey Guillory with five, Darren Farmer with four, Talen Davis with three, Drake Cooper with two and Jarvis Jones with one point.
Devon Washington posted a double-double of 19 points and 13 boards for Louisiana College, while Lashard Powell and Timothy Stokes finished with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
With 9:41 left in the contest, Howard Payne still trailed by eight points, 53-45. But the Yellow Jackets reeled off seven in a row — a three by Guillory and deuces from Randall and Aguero — to trim to deficit to 53-52 at the 7:44 mark.
After exchanging free throws, a layup from Aguero with 6:07 remaining pushed the Yellow Jackets in front, 58-57. Louisiana College briefly regained the lead, 59-58, on a bucket by Stokes with 4:23 to go, but Howard Payne answered with a crippling 10-0 run over the next 3:33.
Cole’s three-pointer with 3:57 left put Howard Payne in front for good, 61-59. Aguero added a couple of layups ahead of two free throws from Cole that made the score 67-59 with 1:21 remaining. Jones capped the run with a free throw with just under minute left.
Louisiana College crept within five points, 70-65, with nine seconds left, by Randall sank two free throws a second later to clinch the victory.
The Yellow Jackets will face Texas Lutheran at 5 p.m. Tuesday and Schreiner and 3 p.m. Wednesday in non-conference action at the Texas Lutheran tournament. HPU will then visit Southwestern in another non-conference tilt on Jan. 2 before returning to ASC action on Jan. 4 at home against UT-Tyler.